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Goldee App Unlocks Hidden Potential of Philips Hue Bulbs

by Paul Strauss
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I really love having Philips Hue lights in my house. If I could, I’d do the whole house, but for now, I’ve only got my media room/arcade/mancave and my foyer done up with the colorful remote-controlled LED bulbs. However, one thing that has always been a bit lacking with Hue is the standard control app. It’s pretty limiting – it doesn’t do light animations or even acknowledge the concept of different rooms in your house. A little app has recently surfaced which adds both of these capabilities to Hue bulbs.

Goldee is a third-party app which has been made possible by Philips release of an SDK and API for Hue. The application’s primary purpose is to add dynamic looks to Hue which go beyond the static scenes enabled by other applications.

goldee_hue_appzoom in

To use Goldee, simply add your bulbs and rooms to the app the first time you start up, then tap on the room and the scene you want to run. With the app’s built-in scenes, you can gradually watch the colors in your room shift to set one of ten moods. Each scene has been composed by a professional lighting designer and it shows.

hue_goldee_1zoom in

My personal favorites are the pinky/orange hues of Night in Paris and the blue and green tones Aurora Glow. When you first fire up the app, you get the first eight scenes for free.

goldee_aurorazoom in

Sharing Goldee on social media opens up the ninth scene, while providing a review gets you the tenth. This is a clever take on downloadable content – instead of charging money for these unlockables.

hue_goldee_2zoom in

As you can see from the video below, Goldee’s color sequences change very gradually – this isn’t a disco app. Goldee provides soothing and relaxing scenes which you can live with while you sit in a room and read a book, listen to music or throw a dinner party.

Goldee also offers a wake mode which can wake you up to its Sunrise scene, though without any Hue bulbs in my bedroom, I didn’t test this feature. You can apply scenes to multiple rooms simultaneously, a pretty slick trick that no other Hue control app does as far as I know. While the initial 10 scenes are all pretty good looking if you’ve got enough bulbs, Goldee promises a library of additional scenes you can run in the not-too-distant future.

A couple of quick notes about Goldee you should be aware of: 1) the app needs to be running – and in the foreground – to work; 2) there’s no way at this time to make your own custom scenes. I’m hoping that these are addressed in future releases – especially now that iOS7 allows true background applications.

You can download Goldee from the iTunes App Store for free.

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